The cost of reconstruction of the Hermitage Museum will reach $ 450 million

Renovation of Hermitage spreads on 15.562 square meters. Renovated east wing will consist of art pieces from imperial Russia and modern time, as well as gallery dedicated to artist Shchukina and Morozova, Russian Guard Museum and Faberge exhibition, said Mihail Piotrovsky, director of museum.

Expenses costs for east wing of Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg rose up to 15 milliard roubles (450 million dollars) from firstly 10,6 milliard roubles (318 million dollars).

First phase of renovation was around 7 milliard dollars, and second phase will be 8 milliard roubles, said Andrej Vasiljev, boss of investment funds of Saint Petersburg. Funds for first phase came from Russian government (80%) and World bank (20%).Second phase covers from the money left from renovation of Mariinsky theatre, said the director of museum Mihail Piotrovsky.

Vasiljev pointed out  that revised amount was around 50% higher than firstly planned, and that the agreement on cooperation includes order that the increase is allowed according to inflation and other unexpected new costs.

By agreement from 2008 for first phase was set aside 4,4 milliard roubles, and building company Intarsia got the job. Second phase worth 6,2 milliard roubles, was given to the same company 2010.

But, audit chamber, federal agency which insures that state money is spend in a good way, have showed concern because of possible corruption in relationship between Intarsija, Vasiljev department and Ministry of culture. It was found out that the contract was renewed without contest, and expenses higher than expected.

Minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky, at the notice that mentioned  contracts were under authority of previous minister of culture, defended the decision that the job was given to Intarsija. ”We don’t have to change the horse in the middle of race is too complicated project”, Medinsky explained in picturesque way. He said that the money was not paid  in advance and that Intarsia only charge real costs of their work. He admitted that the project is too expensive and it could have probably been cheaper, but he said that these big projects were always expensive. Builders say that inflation could have easily go up to 15 % per year in building sector, and that new evaluation  and moderation of expenses is usual with long term projects.

According to the data base by Spark, 80 % of Intarsija is in hands of its president Viktor Smirnov, and rest of 20% is in ownership of entrepreneur Gennady Yavnik. Company’s income in 2012 was 6,8 milliard roubles.

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